Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is for nurses who are interested in an advanced practice role as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) and nurse leader in healthcare systems. The DNP-FNP curriculum is based on guidelines and competencies established by the Colorado Board of Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), and the National Task Force for Quality Nurse Practitioner Education (NTF). DNP graduates work as FNPs in direct patient care and as leaders in academic, healthcare, or community-based systems. DNP-FNP program graduates are eligible to take the national FNP certifying examination and are eligible for licensure as an FNP. Courses are delivered via an on-line format allowing students to reside in their home communities. However, students travel to complete clinical hours (e.g., rural health). Objective structured clinical exams (OSCEs), and graduate program student intensive (GPSI) sessions are held in both in-person and online formats. The DNP program requires students to complete a minimum of 1000 clinical hours, 750 of which must be in direct care. The remainder of the hours may be in indirect care (e.g., simulation, leadership, health policy), including hours spent on the students’ DNP scholarly projects.

Admission to the University does not guarantee admission to the program. The DNP program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Coursework includes advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, primary care across the lifespan (pediatrics, adults, older adults), rural/underserved populations, mental and behavioral health, quality improvement, health policy, leadership, and health systems change. The last two years of the program include students’ completion of their DNP scholarly projects. The scholarly project requires students to develop, implement, and evaluate a primary care-focused intervention to address a clinical gap in practice. Students present their scholarly project publicly and submit their original work for publication at the conclusion of the DNP program.

Admission to the DNP-FNP Program

Admission to the DNP-FNP Program is competitive. Students submit an application through the Centralized Application Service for Nursing at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The DNP-FNP program is rigorous and prepares nurses as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). The DNP degree is the terminal clinical degree track for nursing. Admission is on a rolling schedule with final cohorts starting in the fall semester. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Students must have the following for the duration of their time in the Graduate Nursing Program:

  • Earned bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from an accredited program.
  • Unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license from a US state or territory. This must be maintained for the duration of enrollment in the Graduate Nursing Program.
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for health care providers. This must be maintained for the duration of enrollment in the Graduate Nursing Program.
  • Malpractice insurance as a nurse practitioner student. This must be maintained for the duration of enrollment in the Graduate Nursing Program.
  • Criminal background check.
  • Drug screen.
  • Current immunizations. This must be maintained for the duration of enrollment in the Graduate Nursing Program. Exemptions are accepted by the program, based on the state of Colorado’s policies. Immunization status may be evaluated by health care organizations prior to student placement.
  • All students must provide proof of training in cultural competency and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prior to enrollment in clinical courses.

General Policies

Up to nine credit hours may be taken as non-degree seeking and later applied towards program requirements. Students can transfer up to 30% of eligible credits from another accredited institution into their degree plan provided they meet the general transfer policies of CMU and are approved by the Graduate Program Director. Coursework considered for transfer must be completed with a grade of “B” or higher. Additional information may be found in the graduate transfer credit section of the catalog.

Program of Study

See Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner (DNP-FNP) for information on program requirements.